Playboy Features the Girls of Gaming

Playboy Features the Girls of Gaming
Ed Palomar
LOS ANGELES — Playboy has a half-century tradition of centerfolds and pinup girls. In its very first issue in 1953, actress Marilyn Monroe was the centerfold. The illustrator Vargas created classic pinup pictures for the men’s magazine for decades.

Now, the magazine Hugh Hefner founded more than 50 years ago is entering the 21st century with video game characters “posing” in Playboy. The magazine is featuring BloodRayne, Luba Licious, Tala, Mileena and other computer-illustrated characters in various states of undress in the October issue.

Scott Alexander, who is Playboy’s senior editor, said: “Part of the thrust of the piece is that gaming is not just for kids. We want to establish the way Playboy’s going to be covering video games.”

And that means the men’s magazine’s coverage will be adult-oriented. Indeed, the five-page spread previewing video games is titled “Gaming Grows Up.”

“We want to cover them from the perspective of an adult who has a life,” Alexander said. “We’re not writing video game reviews for kids who play five hours a day [but] for the grown-up who may play five hours a week, if that much.”

Playboy has gone from vamps to vampires with BloodRayne. She is a part-human, part-bloodsucking creature of the night who appears in video games of the same name. In the magazine, the usually leather-garbed BloodRayne bares her breasts.

Another vampire, the American Indian Tala, who is featured in the horror video game “Darkwatch,” is depicted in the nude — except for a feather in her hair. Luba Licious, who is a character in the comedy game “Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude,” appears in the buff in a two-page foldout.

Other video vixens are also portrayed, topless and bikini-clad. Just as Playmates’ layouts are accompanied by blurbs about their likes and dislikes, the digital girls’ images have faux bios, too. The gaming section also includes brief articles about various video games, such as “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.”

After 52 years on the newsstands, the venerable gentlemen’s magazine is striving to stay relevant, topical and newsworthy. Playboy has featured stars like Monroe, Brigitte Bardot and in a recent issue, Darryl Hanna, in the nude.

After the spectacular bankruptcy of the Texas energy firm, Playboy featured the girls of Enron baring all, and more recently Home Depot’s wannabe nude models. The girls of gaming appears aimed at a demographic much younger than 78-year-old Hefner.